Private investigator Tony DeMarco is looking into a murder. The police say it was an accidental overdose, but the victim’s family knows differently. Tony uncovers that the victim went to Expanded Horizons, a mental health clinic dealing with sexual health. But the doctors at the clinic aren’t talking, so Tony decides to go undercover as a patient to find out what he can.
Dr. Jack Halloran was once a leading military surgeon, but an explosion left him scarred and unable to preform surgery. His friend gives him a job at the clinic after Jack completes an intensive course in sexual therapy. He’s good at what he does, even if it’s not what he thought he would be doing. And Jack knows his newest client is lying about being a sex addict.
Faced with the imposing doctor, Tony has no choice but to tell the truth. Not that he’s undercover, but that he has is own sexual issues. But what’s worse is that Tony’s issues don’t seem to be in play when it comes to Jack. He wants the man in a way he’s wanted few people before, but Jack won’t cross that line, despite their chemistry.
Tony delves deeper into the murder, and with it, the truth comes out about the killer and about his true purpose at the clinic. Fortunately for these men, as soon as the doctor/patient relationship is gone, they can find their way to a happily ever after.
The Trouble with Tony is the first book in the Sex in Seattle series, and it’s a re-release. I read the first edition years ago and from what I can remember, not much has changed, except for the fact that it now has a better cover. The good news is that for those of you who didn’t get a chance to read it the first time around, now you have your opportunity.
I like Easton’s writing, and the author has a way of creating likeable characters who are real and believable. Tony’s honesty about his issues makes him feel vulnerable, and Easton does a great job portraying those scenes. Jack, too, is not without issues. Though his are physical and mostly mental. His time in a combat zone has left it’s scars, and Jack is still working through them. The chemistry between the MCs is smoking right from the start, and it sizzles and pops as the story goes on. These guys make a great pair, and when they’re finally together, it’s satisfying to be sure.
But I will say I had a couple of issues with this book. The first is that Tony is ultimately portrayed as a demisexual. While this makes sense in regards to his former lovers, it felt less so when it comes to his attraction to Jack. Right from the start, Tony is sexually attracted to Jack, and while the author makes an effort to explain this, I have a hard time with it. Demisexual is generally defined as someone who needs an emotional attachment to another person before they feel sexual attraction. Here, it’s the barest thread of an attachment, and a very weak one at that. I would have liked to see this handled just a bit differently, with perhaps Tony and Jack having a few sessions, so that it was clear that Tony had an emotional attachment before the sexual attraction came into play.
My other small issue, though one I’m willing to give a lot of leeway to, is the ease with which Jack accepted that Tony was at the clinic under false pretenses. It seemed Jack let his lust override everything else the moment he found out and then it was hardly resolved. Just done and over with no discussion. This novel is on the shorter side, so I can understand the need for speed. But I still would have liked to see repercussions or at least a discussion about it.
But all that being said, I did like this book. As I said, Easton has a way with characters that make for a good read, and Tony and Jack are a great couple. They’re human, real, and relatable, and I love the sex positivity in the story. If you’re a fan of this author and haven’t had a chance to read this one yet, or you’re looking to give Easton a try, then this is may be the book for you.